Becoming a Surrogate Mother

Many of us dream of one day having a family of our own, but for some prospective parents, giving birth to their own biological child just isn’t a possibility. Every day surrogate mothers are helping these families turn their dreams into reality. So, what does it take to become a surrogate mom, and is it right for you?

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Featured Expert




Preggie Pals
“Becoming a Surrogate Mother”
Episode 21, September 17th, 2012

Please be advised, this transcription was performed from a company independent of New Mommy Media, LLC. As such, translation was required which may alter the accuracy of the transcription.

[00:00:00]

[Theme Music]

Cora Jenson : Many of us dream of one day having a family of our own. But, for some prospective parents giving birth to their own biological child just isn’t a possibility. Every day surrogate mothers are helping these families turn their dreams into reality. So, what does it take to become a surrogate mom and is it right for you? I am Cora Jenson with Modern Family Surrogacy Center, here in San Diego, California and this is Preggie Pals, Episode 21.

[Theme Music/Intro]

Sunny Gault : Welcome to Preggie Pals, broadcasting from the Birth Education Center of San Diego. I am your host, Sunny Gault. So, if you are busy, soon to be a parent who is always on the go, I have some quick news for you. Preggie Pals now have a free app now available on those Android and Apple products. So, now you can listen to your most recent episodes anytime, anyplace and we know you have a ton of questions throughout your pregnancy and of course we are here to help. Preggie Pals has a team of experts, all with different areas of expertise relating to pregnancy and parenting. So, if you do have a question, simply send us an email through our website or call our Preggie Pals hotline at 619-866-4775 and we’ll include your question and the answer in an upcoming episode. Let’s meet the ladies here in the studio. You guys are all wearing blue, I love it. Okay, let’s start with you Stephanie.

Stephanie Saalfeld : Hi, I am Stephanie Saalfeld. I am 29 years. I am a Gemologist, due January 9th with my first baby and it’s a girl.

Sunny Gault : Yeah, we know that last time from the show.

Stephanie Saalfeld : Yeah, so we found out it’s a girl and we are having hospital birth.

Jackie Kleber : I am Jackie Kleber, I am 25 years. I am 28 weeks pregnant with a surrogate baby girl and I have one child who is 3 years and I am going for an un-medicated hospital birth.

Sunny Gault : Alright, thanks for joining us ladies.

[Theme Music]

[Featured Segments: News Headlines “Grandma Gives Birth to Grandson”]

Sunny Gault : Alright, here is an interesting headline that is making news around the internet and the headline is “Grandmother Gives Birth to own Grandson” and if that doesn’t get your attention now, what will? Okay, so here is the deal. 25 year old Angel Hebert learnt that she had a heart condition which makes it unsafe for her to get pregnant and her husband Brian of course, they were very disappointed, upset about this. But the alternative was not far away so, Angel’s mother who is 49 years old, her name is Linda. Of course, she was upset that her daughter couldn’t get pregnant and she volunteered to be a surrogate for her daughter. And her mother was actually a mother of 4 including twins so, this obviously was not her first rodeo. She has a lot of parenting experience. So, I wanna get you guy’s feedback on this. Obviously, it’s a very relevant topic because we are talking about surrogacy today. Stephanie, let’s start with you. First of all, would this be something that you think you might do if you indeed couldn’t have a baby on your own?

Stephanie Saalfeld : You mean like, ask my mom?

Sunny Gault : Yeah, yeah, just a concept of it, I mean, how does this sit with you?

Stephanie Saalfeld : Well, definitely, it’s definitely an attention grabbing headline. At first I was like, “I am not really sure about that. Does this baby has its own uncle, how does that work?”

Sunny Gault : Yeah, how would you classify that? How does the family tree look?

Stephanie Saalfeld : Yeah, I mean, I would definitely….. if I couldn’t have my own you know, and a friend of mine and I had actually had this conversation many years ago and we said “Yeah, okay well, if you can’t then I will for you” and vice versa you know….

Sunny Gault : Yeah.

Stephanie Saalfeld : So, yeah I don’t know about my mom and I don’t know if she would be all for that.

Sunny Gault : Right, right.

Stephanie Saalfeld : Yeah, I mean, definitely I would investigate other options.

Sunny Gault : Jackie, I think I know how you feel about it. Let’s go and get your opinion on this Ms. Surrogate. [Laughs]

Jackie Kleber : I think it’s awesome. There is actually another lady who just, I don’t know what her name but, she was 60 years and she just recently, the grandson is 18 months old. So, a year and a half and they were on the view this week because they are just promoting their new book or whatever.

Sunny Gault : So, this is a trend, trending nationwide, have your babies or have your daughter’s baby? [Laughs]

Jackie Kleber : I guess so, I don’t know and then my husband walked in during the segment on the view and he was like “Really, they can do that?” and I was like “Yeah, they” you know, because I had to take hormones and stuff but the grandma had to take hormones and stuff. And he was like “I wonder if your mom would do it” and I was like “I don’t know but I definitely would never ask her.”

Sunny Gault : Why wouldn’t you ask her?

Jackie Kleber : Like I don’t want to, I wouldn’t expect her to do it.

Sunny Gault : Would it be weird for you though because you are on a different type of surrogacy situation. So, but if you were the person who couldn’t have a baby, would you ask your mom?

Jackie Kleber : I don’t know, probably not because I have so many other options.

[00:05:12]

Sunny Gault : Yeah.

Jackie Kleber : I got a sister and a sister in law, not that I would ask them.

Sunny Gault : It is kind of weird a little bit, isn’t it?

Jackie Kleber : Yeah.

Sunny Gault : And Cora, just tell me what’s your opinion on this to being an expert on surrogacy today.

Cora Jenson : Well, my first thought was as a mother what you wouldn’t do for your child.

Sunny Gault : Right, of course.

Cora Jenson : Right, on both of these cases did they ask or did the mom come forward and say “you know, I wanna see you have children” so, you know, my mind directly went to the…..

Sunny Gault : Yes, the mom came forward.

Cora Jenson : See so, instinctively as a parent you wanna give that to them so, that they offered and those daughters clearly took them on it instead of asking,

Sunny Gault : They took me up on my offer. [Laughs]

Cora Jenson : See I would worry about my mom’s health and stuff like that.

Sunny Gault : Yeah, because she is being old, she is 49 years old and usually, yeah. And usually you know, doctors don’t recommend that women have pregnancies beyond you know, certain age and I know that’s advancement of age is 49 years.

Stephanie Saalfeld : They do have to go through a lot of physical testing and screening and stuffs.

Jackie Kleber : No, I am sure.

Cora Jenson : And I was thinking that it was amazing that were you know, 49 years and 60 years when medically approved and healthy enough to do that.

Sunny Gault : And Cora, have you heard someone come to the surrogacy center that has been advanced, maternal age like that and want to become a surrogate first I mean, obviously first she wasn’t a first time but whether the first time or they have already had 4 or 5 but do you have women like that old?

Cora Jenson : We have women that are over that cut off age all of the time wanting to be a surrogate and you know, we had to tell them that’s just medically….. it’s not the parent that would choose them or an idea of doctor that would approve them when there is other young healthy women that can do it. So, there is the cut off age,

Sunny Gault : Yeah, yeah.

Cora Jenson : If you are over 40 typically, they don’t want you to be a surrogate mother unless you have had a baby within the last 1 or 2 years and you are in the excellent health with no complications. They will consider you but otherwise they just say “you know, I am sorry over the preferred age.”

Stephanie Saalfeld : It’s probably different in their specific case because they are family and want it to keep it in family.

Sunny Gault : Yeah.

Stephanie Saalfeld : And the doctors were like well, “we can try let’s see, let’s see what you look like.” I wonder if they were met with resistance. Like, "Let's see how many cobwebs you have in your uterus."  [Laughs]

Sunny Gault : Alright, the mom here in the article says that she just saw it as if she was baby-sitting for few months. It was their child all along and she was just room for rent.

Stephanie Saalfeld : That’s what I have heard other surrogates say.

Cora Jenson :Yeah, I mean, is that how you feel being a surrogate that you’re kind of room for rent so, that other people can have the family they wanna have.

Jackie Kleber : It’ kind of not really so much like room for rent.

Sunny Gault : Yeah, but the room for rent. I had to be honest, I you know, if this was my only option I probably would ask my mom but I feel little weird. I know, you know, that everything happens clinically as far as the insertion of semen and everything and I don’t wanna think about my husband’s sperm being inside my mom. I don’t care how the doctor….

Cora Jenson : Though it’s already an embryo, it’s already an embryo.

Sunny Gault : Okay, so it’s formed outside and then, then it’s inserted.

Cora Jenson : Yeah, yeah.

Sunny Gault : I don’t know what that makes sense?

Cora Jenson : So, your mom would be your oven, she is baking your baby. [Laughs]

Sunny Gault : She has been cooking me stuff whole life, why not the baby? [Laughs]

[Theme Music]

Sunny Gault : Today, we are learning about what it takes to become a surrogate mom and joining us here in the studio is Cora Jenson. She is the directly of Client Services at Modern Family Surrogacy Center. Cora, thank you so much for being with us here today.

Cora Jenson : Thank you for having me.

Sunny Gault : So, I am so excited to learn all about surrogacy so, let’s dive into this. What are some of the main reasons women choose to become surrogate mothers?

Cora Jenson : Well, some women say that they feel drawn to this process in helping people, something they can’t explain when they love pregnancy and they hear about it from someone who either has gone through it or it’s in the media. A lot of women say they start Googling and researching it. They know that they can help their family financially while helping someone else have a baby. The reasons that people do it are completely varied. I mean, some people are more in it to help someone while financially helping themselves. Other people are doing it more for just that feeling of you know, doing that one, you know, biggest something they can think of doing. So, everyone’s reasons you know, pretty varies, yeah.

Sunny Gault : And Jackie, what was your reason for wanting to become a surrogate?

Jackie Kleber : I think that the first thing that she said it really described me. I was a kind of drawn to it and then I was like, “Oh! You are paid for it.”

[00:10:00]

Cora Jenson : Right, right, when you hear about it, you’re like, what is that and you just kind of think that is so fascinating and what are the miraculous thing. That’s what it was me as well and I had only had one baby at that point and I am not a surrogate mother and I was like “Why it’s so fascinating?” So, I started goggling and it wasn’t until after I had my second son that I was actually a surrogate mother.

Jackie Kleber : Okay.

Cora Jenson : And I just wanted my one amazing experience and to know what that felt like and when people describe it she was like it was just the most amazing thing ever and I was just like I wanna know what that feels like. So, that’s what, and then my Jackie said “you get paid to do it” and while doing a normal life was just a bonus.

Sunny Gault : Alright, so you have this feeling that it is something you really wanna do, what did you guys do after you had this feeling? Did you contact someone like a center right away so, did you know about Cora and Cora’s services?

Jackie Kleber: No and this is gonna sound totally funny. I found it on Craig’s list. [Laughs]

Sunny Gault : Looking for other surrogates?

Jackie Kleber: Yeah, it wasn’t that I was like looking for it but it just like came up and I was like “Oh! right, I wanted do this” because it was by that point it was total back in my brain not even thinking about it. Then, it was like “Oh! May be I should look into it like because we are in the perfect spot in California.”

Sunny Gault : Yeah.

Jackie Kleber: I know we are gonna be here for at least 2 years so………..

Sunny Gault : Why are we in the perfect spot in California? Why is this?

Stephanie Saalfeld : Because it was, it’s a lot easier for, like you don’t have to adopt your own baby in California. You, the parents name goes on the birth certificate. I mean, there is legal documents you have to sign and everything, in fact I did them last week “Hey, she is not mine, here you go.” [Laughs]

Sunny Gault : And Cora, what did you do? Were you already involved with the, with the stunner when you decided to have your surrogate baby or how did that happen?

Cora Jenson : No, I actually, it was 2 years later that I was a surrogate, I had my second son and then right after I had him like it was in the back of mind that I had done a bunch of research and I actually spoke to several agencies weighing the pros and cons of each one and so, I had done a lot of research at that point. So, once I had my second baby and I said, I kind of said to my husband a couple of times like throughout that time frame and he was like “Sure, yeah, yeah” you know, and then after I had my second baby I said “I am really gonna do this.” And he was kind of like “You really are gonna do it?” So, then he was paying attention like “Okay, now what is this? And tell me about that” then he paid attention. And it was just something that whole time I knew that I wanted to do.

Sunny Gault : Why would you say it’s important to contact an agency or a center as opposed to kind of just handling this on your own like with a friend or something like that?

Cora Jenson : Alright, well even you did with a friend or you know, a family member or whatever you would still need someone to co-ordinate everything for you. You have to have an attorney to do the legal contracts so, everything is spelled out.

Sunny Gault : Okay.

Cora Jenson : What the compensations are? What the behavior expectations are? You know, contact during the process after the process, everything is spelled out so, there is no misunderstandings or hurt feelings. It is a long emotional process and then the agency will find an escort company for you that holds the funds that are paid to surrogate in a neutral place. So, that the parents are not paying the surrogate directly. If you didn’t go through an agency how would that be set up? If you know, then the parents are paying you and you are asking for things and what if they disagree?

Sunny Gault : Right.

Cora Jenson ; Who’s gonna say “yes” you get the money or not if you have an attorney, the money in the neutral place with someone approving what’s paid to you then can go bad real fast.

Sunny Gault : Cora, I am just thinking about worst case scenario and that would be you know, someone is thinking that “Wow! I have got a real attorney and do all these stuffs” This is a lot of work why can’t we just you know, kind of handle this on our own. I have a baby and I literally hand it too and it’s done you know, does that happen? I am assuming it does, you know.

Cora Jenson : It does, it does. But, there aren’t many wonderful and happy endings with people doing it.

Sunny Gault : Sure, sure.

Cora Jenson : It’s actually very simple. The attorney does their piece, the clinic does their piece and the agency pulls you all together.

Sunny Gault : Okay.

Cora Jenson : So, the agency makes it easy for you, It helps schedule your appointment, it helps you with the medications that you have to take, they kind of just lets you slow down, take a deep breath and let the surrogate and the parents have a good relationship and fund through the process while the agency is coordinating all those tricky things. Who is paying what, you know, doing all the logistical stuff, who is got to be at this clinic, which doctor, which attorney you know, so, they just kind of help you. And agencies will pick who is in the industry, who is good at what they do, who is gonna make it so, that their clients have a smooth process.

Sunny Gault : Okay, okay.

Stephanie Saalfeld : Takes all the stress out of it.

Cora Jenson : Yeah.

Stephanie Saalfeld : Which is really nice as a surrogate because……

Cora Jenson : Well, the minute you start talking money with the couple that you are having the baby for, instance stress.

Stephanie Saalfeld : Yeah.

Sunny Gault : Well, let’s talk about money here for a second.

Cora Jenson : So, a lot of people would think that is a benefit to them. They do think at least, maybe it’s not the driving force they do this but the factor.

Sunny Gault : But they are not doing it for free?

[00:15:04]

Cora Jenson : That’s what I always say.

Sunny Gault : Exactly.

Cora Jenson : You are, you are definitely compensating a surrogate mother and so, one of the requirements is that the surrogate is financially stable. Like, you can’t be a women who isn’t working and has no source of income because then the parents worry you know, as in agency you don’t wanna see someone who needs money and it is you know, people kind of act, you know, they are nervous and stressed out financially and, you know, stress and keep you from getting pregnant. So, that is the big and then, you know, potentially people act a little different they’re needing money and in a desperate situation. Then, if the structure for payment is already outlined so, the parents know exactly what they are gonna be paying the surrogate and what for and the surrogate knows that upfront exactly what she is gonna be compensated.

Sunny Gault : What is that price dependent on?

Cora Jenson : Well, every agency has their own set of first time surrogate mother fees.

Sunny Gault : Okay.

Cora Jenson : So, if you are looking into agencies, you just contact them. A lot of times it’s on their website, if it’s not they will send it to you and ask them to walk you through how much is their first time surrogates get paid. And it will be outlined, it will be there compensation for carrying one baby. There is an extra compensation if you are carrying a twin baby. You get money for maternity clothing because you are gonna need clothing. You get a monthly allowance for like parking and appointments and child care if you need it, vitamins. So, you just get that cash so, you don’t have to be keep in track of every you know, small amount and…..

Sunny Gault : So, what is the ball park price I guess for if you are just having a singleton?

Cora Jenson : A singleton, your compensation overall would be about 30,000 to 35,000.

Sunny Gault : Okay, so let’s talk about what else the center does to support the surrogate. So, obviously there is compensation but what other, you know, is there emotional support? I mean, obviously this is a big start for somebody’s making. So, how can the center help with that?

Cora Jenson : We provide a lot of emotional support. We have a support coordinator who go to appointments if girls need it. We like to have her go to the medical screening appointment which is the first visit with the doctor and they do an evaluation of your uterus and they draw blood. So, we have her go along so they explain the process in there you know, calm and they do your blood pressure, they just make sure that overall you are healthy and that your, your uterus looks healthy to carry a baby. So, she will go to that appointment with them.

Sunny Gault : So, she has been through all of this?

Cora Jenson : Yes, we have all been surrogate mothers ourselves so, we help with anything from how do I do the injection to have it be less painful?

Sunny Gault : Which is huge.

Cora Jenson : You know, I am crying today for no reason, is that for normal sometimes it’s you know, and you are having a baby and you know, your hormonal and we are there to kind of help. We know what it feels like if you…… I mean, girls needs support for things like there, you know, how much contact is a good amount with the parents. Some want more so, it’s little things like that, like I didn’t get any of them from them this week and you know, we find out they travelled and didn’t have internet. We can help communicate with the surrogate mother or, you know, this parent might wanna call them every day and we help remind them generally that working moms and you know, they have their own children while they with your baby and we politely explain those types of things. So, we are kind of the buffer and we also have support group meetings once a month. We have healthy topics, the importance of water, nutrition. We sometimes talk about the contract and you know, reminding about how much contact and we, the girls kind of talk to each other you know, with 30 girls in a room laughing and talking about everything, pregnancy and it’s really fun. In that way it engages them in the surrogacy process. They don’t feel alone. They can you know, there everyone knows how they feel. So, we once a month gets to see them in person and talk to them and then we just are always talking to them various times throughout the month anyway.

Sunny Gault : Okay, and how do you match surrogate mothers with potential parents? How does that process work?

Cora Jenson : That’s a really good question. We have them, every surrogate mother fills out an application when they come and meet with us and it just asks you know, why are you doing this? Just about your family, your relationship whether they are single or married or dating and we just get a feel for them, what are they looking for in the process? Do they want a lot of contact or they someone that’s very busy and they just really don’t wanna be you know, bothered too much because sometimes you know, really aren’t looking forward to come out of the process that close with someone.

Sunny Gault : Right.

Cora Jenson : And that goes for the parents too. So, they fill out a profile as well. We know what they are looking for. Do they wanna at a lot of appointments with the surrogate mother or they international and they can’t make it to everything? So, we kind of, it’s a lot about a personal match too. So, it’s not just you wanna have a baby, you wanna carry for someone great. We don’t match them like next in line type of thing, it’s, it’s really important to make sure that emotionally you are matching them with the right person too.

[00:20:07]

Sunny Gault : Is it like dating?

Cora Jenson : It is like dating. It’s like speed dating. [Laughs]

Sunny Gault : Nice.

Cora Jenson : It’s true, it’s true so, and I always tell them that everyone is nervous for that first phone call or whatever and I always joke like, I always say that “It’s kind of dating and you are meeting someone for the first time, it’s a blind date.” But you have to have like that instinctive got a feeling like kind of when you meet someone like that. You just, you feel either so right about it and then if their expectations are the same and then it’s a really good match otherwise someone is calling every day and other person doesn’t wanna talk to them.

Sunny Gault : Yeah.

Cora Jenson : You know, where you kind of, you know, that’s where we come in and we have been doing this for a while so, you know, it helps to have the right match.

Sunny Gault : Yeah, Jackie I would love to hear about your experience in being matched and the process like that?

Jackie Kleber : Oh my gosh! It was totally like dating. [Laughs] I was actually really surprised how nervous I was because Cora matched me with an intended parent couple and I spoke to, only one of them speaks English because they live in Spain. So, I spoke to the one that obviously only speaks, he speaks English and I talked to him on the phone first and then it was like “Oh! Okay” and then you both have to you know, after the phone conversation you both have to be like separate and you be like “Okay, did I like him? Do you think I do this with this specific person? Like can I see myself doing this?” And then like “Yeah, okay I think we should meet face to face.” I mean luckily I had that chance because he was coming over to the United States.

Sunny Gault : Okay, but you don’t always have that opportunity to meet face to face? Cora, do you always have that opportunity to meet face to face prior to being matched?

Cora Jenson : You don’t always, you don’t always. They try though if they can be here to meet in person but they always have to at least talk on the phone or do a Skype or something like that.

Sunny Gault : Okay.

Jackie Kleber : Yeah, so, then we drove up to L.A. I think it was like a week later or something. I was so nervous like “Oh! My gosh” it’s just like “I am gonna be carrying your kid, Hi.”

Sunny Gault : It’s kind of like walking up to someone and saying “Hi, I am naked how are you?”

Jackie Kleber : Exactly, No “Oh!”

Sunny Gault : Then you looked down and like “Oh! My God I am naked.” [Laughs]

Jackie Kleber : Yeah, and really though you, emotionally you are very naked and vulnerable because it’s such a, it totally is, it is not buying a house or buying a car and those are two huge things.

Sunny Gault : Yeah.

Jackie Kleber : ….in your life you know, it totally is.

Cora Jenson : But then one day about Jackie’s meeting so, we go to L.A and they, I think you went to the coffee shop next door.

Jackie Kleber : Yeah.

Cora Jenson : Okay so, then we kept checking, usually I don’t know like, 30 minutes later or so we checked to see how they were doing and thinking that they would be done. No, no they were kind of just shrugged away, shrugged us off. I don’t even know if it was 2 hours later “Okay, we just wait until they come back” looking at pictures on each other’s phone, sharing about the family, very sweet to watch.

Sunny Gault : Yeah, and that’s how it is when it’s right.

Cora Jenson : Yeah, you just feel so connected, you can’t explain it, you just know it’s right.

Jackie Kleber : …when you can’t stop talking to each other.

Cora Jenson : Yeah.

Jackie Kleber : I think you know, it’s a good match.

Sunny Gault : Right, right. Okay, so, then you are matched with, what do you call it an intended parent?

Cora Jenson : Intended parent.

Sunny Gault : Okay, intended parent and what happens from there like what is the next step, Cora?

Cora Jenson : Well, from there they both confirm that they want to match and work with each other. Then, our case manager sends what we call a referral to the clinic, to the attorney, to the Psychologists. So, then the surrogate mother goes through a series of screening. First step is the criminal background check. Once we get that, that takes a couple of days. Then we know if that’s clear she goes onto the next step. She meets with a Psychologists, they do a little, she just explains the process and the husband, yes or even like a live in partner someone with her, committed with her then they go through the process too.

Sunny Gault : Okay.

Cora Jenson : So, you know, they, she just explains the process and really analysis if they are ready and emotionally get what’s going on and what they need to do. So, then they are cleared with the Psychologists. Then they go meet the IVF physician that the couple has chosen to work with. And then he does like we are talking about the earlier does the exam, ultrasound for uterus they do, you know, blood and urine sample and that’s really the last step. When she is medically cleared and the attorney that, during that time is drafting a legal contract that has the parameters and all the guidelines that everyone is gonna follow. So, parents review the contract, surrogates review the contract, they all agree with the terms, they sign it then the surrogate mother goes into what we call induce cycle where she starts the medications to get her body ready for the embryo transfer.

Sunny Gault : Let’s talk about the contract for a second because that could be a pretty big process just depending on picky everyone is, right?

Cora Jenson : Yeah, yeah some parents are really picky because it is a huge deal.

Sunny Gault ; It is a huge deal, what are some of the things that are in the contract generally speaking? I mean, what you have to say in a contract to make sure that both parties are satisfied? What are some of the topics that are brought up?

[00:25:00]

Cora Jenson : Well, some of the topics are behavior like nutrition that she follows, the OV’s, the OV doctor’s recommendation for diet. So, you know, limiting caffeine, no alcohol, no drug use I mean, the generic things that you are gonna keep your body healthy that you are not exposed to chemicals or toxins. So, it’s get pretty specific in those areas which are very important.

Sunny Gault : Okay and then what about just you know, travel?

Cora Jenson : You are restricted to travel out of the United States during the entire pregnancy and then also after 24 weeks they don’t want you travelling over a 100 miles from your delivery hospital.

Sunny Gault : Okay.

Cora Jenson : And that’s a good reason because if you go to another state where surrogacy isn’t you know, legally allowed.

Jackie Kleber : Like Arizona.

Sunny Gault : It is not allowed in Arizona?

Cora Jenson : No so, say a surrogate mother goes on vacation to Phoenix and spends the weekend, goes into premature labor, goes into the hospital, they keep you for delivery then the parents have to fly in and adopt their baby from the surrogate mother. So, we need to keep them in California at the end of their pregnancy, close to their hospital so, if something goes wrong then they are in the safe place familiar and the law is on their side.

Sunny Gault : Is there such a thing as a closed surrogacy like you have closed adoptions?

Cora Jenson : If you didn’t want, if you just thought mentally I just can’t handle that is there the option to be able to still give someone a baby and be a surrogate for someone but not have that emotional tie to them. I have heard of that but I don’t know of any agencies who handle them and we don’t handle them.

Sunny Gault : Okay.

Cora Jenson : Yeah.

Sunny Gault : Okay so, now we know what it takes to be accepted as a surrogate mom but what happens once the surrogate becomes pregnant? We will find out the answer for that question when we come back.

[Theme Music]

Sunny Gault : Alright, welcome back! We are talking about how to become a surrogate mother and Cora Jenson from Modern Family Surrogacy Center is our special expert joined us here in the studio. So, we talked in the first half about what it take to become a surrogate mom and who is best in becoming a surrogate mom, you know, what type person you need to be in order to do that. So, let’s assume that you have been accepted to the program and find your match and now it is time to, I just started speeding. [Laughs] Now, it’s time to become pregnant but I don’t know I am saying that right but how is a surrogate impregnated? What is that process? Jackie, I’m gonna toss it over to you.

Jackie Kleber : In-Vitro Fertilization, when I was on a previous episode and I was I think talking too much in surrogate speak I was like “Oh! Yeah transfer this and blah, blah” and you were like “wait a minute, what does that mean?” So, we, if you are gestational surrogate which means you do not use your egg or your husband’s sperm or any of that, it’s totally intended parents then you do In-Vitro fertilization. Now, if you are a traditional surrogate that means you use your egg and then whoever’s sperm.

Sunny Gault : Okay.

Jackie Kleber : So, I believe some do IUI, is that correct Cora?

Cora Jenson : Yeah, because the chances of getting pregnant is little less and that’s where they track your ovulation and then they put the sperm in your uterus when you are ovulating.

Sunny Gault : Okay, I see.

Cora Jenson : If you are a traditional surrogate and they want, you know, have higher stiches you know, the success rate then they will use your egg with the father’s sperm to create the embryos and then will implant them in your uterus.

Sunny Gault : Okay.

Cora Jenson : With the IVF what they do is, they use the medications to get your body ready so, it kind of tricks your uterus into believing that you are pregnant and then they put the embryos into the surrogate’s uterus. So, you keep taking the medications until around 12 weeks pregnant so, the embryo will implant in the wall of uterus and then your body has been believing with those medications that it’s pregnant. So, once at about somewhere between 10 to 12 weeks pregnant your body will take over with the pregnancy creating enough of the hormones on its own. You get to stop taking those supplements, the hormones then the pregnancy the rest of the way is like a normal pregnancy.

Sunny Gault : How do you take the hormones? Is it a pill or it’s a shot, what is it?

Cora Jenson : It depends upon the IVF doctor mostly I have heard. I had to do infertility treatment stuffs.

Sunny Gault : And it’s not fun.

Cora Jenson : Yeah, but it’s so worth it. It’s such a good…….

Sunny Gault : Yeah.

Jackie Kleber : I have like not needle phobia but I was really afraid of needles when I was younger but now after being like poked and corded so many times if someone else pokes me with a needle I am like “Okay, I just can’t look and then I am totally fine” I am a big girl let me just breathe through it and, but it’s a totally different world when you are sticking yourself with that needle especially when you are seeing like how big the needle is.

Cora Jenson : I injected myself, my husband injected all of the injections for me.

Sunny Gault : That’s nice of him.

Cora Jenson : Yeah.

Sunny Gault : You know, those women that can do their own injections like it’s nothing, it’s no big deal, they’re is so brave. [Laughs]

Jackie Kleber : Well, my husband was gone.

Cora Jenson : He rocks.

Jackie Kleber : I still wasn’t one of those women “Oh! It’s no big deal like. Oh! God, how do I do this?” and like it was just totally a mental thing for me more than anything so……

[00:30:08]

Sunny Gault : So, mentally Jackie how are you feeling about everything? How many weeks pregnant are you?

Jackie Kleber : 28 weeks.

Sunny Gault : You are 28 weeks pregnant, you have been pregnant before, you have had a baby before that’s a pre requisite, right?

Jackie Kleber : Yeah.

Sunny Gault : To have a baby of your own before you have a surrogate?

Jackie Kleber : Yeah.

Sunny Gault : Okay, so how does this pregnancy compare like what do you, what is going inside of your head, Jackie?

Jackie Kleber : In some aspects it’s totally the same but in most it’s totally different because like what Cora said with all the medications your body thinks it’s pregnant before you really are. So, the waking like “Oh! My goodness” and my hips were like, oh, I remember this. [Laughs] So, I swear even before I got pregnant my hips were like “Boom, here is like 3 inches wider for you.” Just to get things going.

Sunny Gault : And, you have also had a baby so your body is probably even remembering it was like the first time?

Cora Jenson : Oh! It totally does yeah. And then it’s totally different in the aspect of you are not naturally getting pregnant, you know, like you have to do all these medications and emotionally how does that work with all these extra hormones in your body.

Sunny Gault : Right.

Cora Jenson : Like someone women are totally normal and fine but some you know, if they are on a higher dose of hormones they are like, some have no issues they don’t gain any, [Cross Talks]

Cora Jenson: Like, some don’t have any issues. They don’t even gain 5 pounds.

Sunny Gault : Well, honestly that’s what is the regular pregnancy.

Cora Jenson : It’s great, super easy for you and for your own children as a surrogate it would be super easy too.

Sunny Gault : Okay, so Cora what recommendations or what advise do you have for women out there that are listening to this show going, “hey, I might be able to do this.” What would you say to them?

Cora Jenson : I would just say take your time to do the research and when you are contacting agencies just talk with them, meet with them, ask all the things that we have covered today like you know, how they handle certain situations, if you had a problem who would you talk to? How will they deal with it? Have they been surrogates before? Because a lot haven’t and………

Sunny Gault : I love that by the way and that’s amazing.

Cora Jenson : Yeah, it’s important that you can really, when you give them advice you know that’s how it is and that’s you have been there you know, people are more compassionate when they have been in your shoes especially in this sensitive situation. And just make sure you are comfortable and you know, if your husband has questions or your partner you know, just make sure eyes open and that you instinctively feel that it’s the right fit for you.

Jackie Kleber : I would even say go to a couple support group meetings before you know…….

Cora Jenson : Oh! That’s a really good point because we allow girls to talk to surrogate mothers before they commit, absolutely. So, make sure you know, anything that you can think of asking, they should be willing to provide you with, people that you talk to, people that delivered or people that are pregnant.

Sunny Gault : Well, Cora thank you so much for being with us today. It was very insightful I have learnt do much. We will continue this conversation on our Facebook page and twitter using the hash tag New Mommy Media so, feel free to join us.

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[Featured Segments: From Our Listeners “The Big Gender Reveal”]

Sunny Gault : Okay, before we wrap things up today, we do have a message from one of our listeners that I wanted to share with you all. This comes from Megan of Loredo, Texas and Megan says “Thanks so much for the episode about gender prediction. I have to admit that I’m one of those pregnant moms who has tried every ways still out there who have come out to try and protect your baby’s gender. So, it’s really nice to hear from a sonographer about how they are actually looking for in an ultrasound to determine gender. Can’t wait to find out what we are having! 2 more weeks till our appointment, thanks again.” And Megan, thank you so much for sending that message, we certainly wish you the best with your pregnancy and whatever you are hoping for, boy, girl we hope you get exactly what you want. If you have comments for our show, please call our Preggie Pals hotline number at 619-866-4775 and we will include your message in an upcoming episode. That wraps up our show for today, if you have questions about surrogacy that we did not discuss feel free to call our Preggie Pals hotline at 619-866-4775 and we will answer your question in our future episode. We also welcome your comments, feedback and suggestions for our show. Call the hotline or send us an email through our website and we would love to hear from you. Coming up next week we are continuing our ongoing series on childbirth preparation methods. Next week we are learning how about Lamaze. Thanks for listening to Preggie Pals, your pregnancy your way.

[Disclaimer]

This has been a New Mommy Media production. Information and material contained in this episode are presented for educational purposes only. Suggestions and opinions expressed in this episode are not necessarily those of New Mommy Media and should not be considered facts. For such information in which areas are related to be accurate, it is not intended to replace or substitute for professional, medical or advisor care and should not be used for diagnosing or treating healthcare problem or disease or prescribing any medications. If you have questions or concerns regarding your physical or mental health or the health of your baby, please seek assistance from a qualified health care provider.

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